21 July, 2023
Installing a game-changing high-tech environmental ecosystem

Plant power delivering pure air to this Knightsbridge office

Recently, we wrote about transforming one of London’s most iconic buildings for a leading Italian brand. Part of that process included installing industry leading technology for the wellness of the team and the environment. The PNAT Air Factory is the kind of innovation that we get really excited about in the workplace – so we wanted to explain a bit more about it.

Workplace wellness

Wellness is a buzzword in every corner of our lives, but there’s a reason for that – it’s important. According to the European Union, “Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk in Europe. It is a major cause of adverse health effects: for instance, air pollution causes and aggravates respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Heart disease and stroke are the most common causes of premature deaths attributable to air pollution, followed by lung diseases and lung cancer.”

Air pollutants are not just about what’s found outside in high density traffic. Indoor air pollutants are also an issue – some come in from the outside, but many are released inside the building. It’s not enough just to increase air circulation – we need to consider the quality of the air as well. However, how do you do that without simply burning more energy and creating more environmental issues?

The answer is a powerful combination of plants and technology.

Multidisciplinary magic

The Fabbrica dell’Aria® (Air Factory) is unique new system that’s been created by a multidisciplinary team of researchers, biologists, designers, engineers and architects in Milan, led by scientist Stefano Mancuso and the PNAT think tank. It purifies the air in indoor spaces through the power of plants.

Power of plants 

The system doesn’t just use plants, it’s inspired by them as well. Where typical mechanical filters quickly saturate and need replacing, this botanical filtration process uses plants to purify the air. Since plants capture polluting molecules and incorporate them into their biomass, the filter has an indefinite duration and is therefore much more efficient than mechanical filtration.

Sensory symbiosis

The Fabbrica dell’Aria is a glass structure through which the air flows. Plants grow in the tanks and air passes through them, returning purified after pollutants have been absorbed by the roots, and leaves, which convert them to their own nutrients. Of course, in the modern world we love a good bit of data to go with our wellness, so bringing tech in harmony with nature’s wonders, in each installation there is a system of sensors. Information is returned in real time on a monitor that can verify the quality of incoming and outgoing air and the volume of pollutants removed by the Air Factory.

Our clients at Investindustrial are very much a leader in this space, eager to invest in forward-thinking and ecologically driven technologies for the mutual wellbeing of the planet and their people. On a wider scale, plants are being used in a more organic way to improve working environments and air quality, but this is only the beginning for plants and their pollutant-busting powers.

Want to improve the environmental credentials of your workplace?

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